New York Times thinks Paul's letter to the Romans calls for execution of gays

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday June 20th, 2016

Derp.

Hat tip to Mollie Ziegler Hemingway for noticing this one, and for analyzing it beautifully.

Those of us who understand a thing or two about faith have gotten used to facepalming when we read the mainstream media's efforts to talk about anything in this realm. Sometimes it's the simple use of words - like calling members of every type of congregation "parishioners" when most don't use that word. Other times it's something more serious, like treating the collection of an offering as if it's a gigantic scam.

I suppose nothing is more dangerous than quoting Scripture to them, because anyone who's familiar with 1 Corinthians 2:14 knows that you can't understand a given verse just from reading that verse in the abstract. It requires a deep study of the context, but more importantly it requires spiritual discernment. You're not going to find a lot of that at the New York Times. So when a Republican memeber of Congress reads from Romans 1 on the House floor, what's going to happen?

Turn the Timesmen loose, and here's what you're going to get:

Representative Rick W. Allen of Georgia, the Republican who last month read the Romans verse that says of homosexuals “they which commit such things are worthy of death” as the House was about to vote on a gay rights amendment, has not apologized. His spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

By the way, this is a perfect demonstration of how reporting bias operates. You don't write your flat-out opinion that a statement someone made was awful. You report factually that he said it. And then you say he "has not apologized," which is your way of editorializing that he should. The Times doesn't report that Obama demands gun control and then, in the very next breath, state that he "has not apologized."

But back to the matter at hand, Mollie Hemingway's analysis above is so complete, I'd really recommend you go to it, but let me give you a basic summary of what's got the Times so confused. In Romans 1, Paul offers a laundry list of sins - homosexuality included - for which the deserved penalty is death. That's because the penalty for all sin is death. He is not talking about execution as the sentence for a crime as meted out by civil authorities. He is talking about eternal death.

But he immediately adds that the gift of God is grace through Jesus Christ, thus that all of us have the opportunity to be forgiven our sins and attain eternal life in spite of them. And he also calls on all of us to forgive each other just as we have been forgiven.

The Times fails to understand any of this, and thinks the "worthy of death" line must mean Christians want to execute all the gays and use the Bible as our justification.

I suppose you could criticize Rep. Allen for reading from God's Word on the House floor, as this sort of derp is inevitable from the mainstream media. But I'd say it's appropriate to proclaim the Word of God from anywhere at any time, and it's not the responsibility of those who do when the pagans either fail or refuse to understand it correctly.

The one caution I would give to Christians, though, is not to get caught up in the notion that Christians are "failing to love" by speaking truth about such matters. That type of idea has been toppling wobbly Christians like Rachel Held Evans, who can't abide the reality that we can love you without agreeing with everything you want or every desire you have. We are not haters just because the world says we are. They neither love nor understand the Word of God.

That doesn't mean it's not possible to be a nasty, judgemental Christian. But if that's what your doing, that conviction will come from the Holy Spirit, not from the New York Times.

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